THE WHISTLING by Rebecca Netley (Michael Joseph £14.99)
by Rebecca Netley (Michael Joseph £14.99)
Sea mist pervades this confidently spooky and subtly gruesome ghost story set in Victorian times.
Elspeth, newly installed as a governess on the small Scottish island of Skelthsea, is still grieving the loss of her family, while Mary, her mute charge, is mourning her dead twin brother.
But personal loss does not fully explain the pall of fear and mystery that pervades Elspeth’s mouldering new home.
On the one hand, there’s the last governess’s sudden disappearance, the lies Mary’s aunt spins about the house, a terrifying housemaid and the horrid little effigies that keep cropping up.
Then there’s the mysterious bone whistle, hints of sacrifice, second sight and witchery . . . Gripping, chilling and very, very satisfying.
NOTHING BUT BLACKENED TEETH by Cassandra Khaw (Titan Books £9.99)
NOTHING BUT BLACKENED TEETH
by Cassandra Khaw (Titan Books £9.99)
Beware befriending the uber rich. They might just offer to fly you to an historic, haunted, Japanese mansion to attend your best frenemy’s mock wedding — and you might accept.
All five characters in this beautifully crafted ghost story feel bang up to date as they negotiate the minefield of past relationships — offended and offensive by turn. Sexuality, race, friendships and affairs are all kept cleverly liminal.
But what the dickens are these clever youngsters thinking when they start telling spooky stories?
Is the story of the jilted bride’s hungry ghost really true? You betcha!
Superbly atmospheric, beautifully controlled, the plot unreels like a slow, toxic drip as comeuppances are well and truly got.
THE HIDING PLACE by Amanda Mason (Zaffre £14.99)
THE HIDING PLACE
by Amanda Mason (Zaffre £14.99)
Whitby’s Dracula connection makes it a homing beacon for Goths who get a passing mention in this unsettling, supernatural tour de force.
But with a back story steeped in local history and plot teeming with everyday anxieties, Amanda Mason has created a new gothic myth.
Home for a family party, Nell decides it’s time for a proper holiday with new hubby and step-daughter Maude.
But the house they rent is, well, unwelcoming, with marks carved on ancient beams, ghostly footsteps, drifting smells and sinister secrets buried behind panels.
As poison from the past seeps into the fractures within Nell’s new family, personal histories and past horrors entwine to trap the reader in a claustrophobic, terrifying embrace.
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